Hawaii’s unemployment rate remained at 3.1 percent in March even as more people in the state entered the workforce.
Total nonfarm jobs last month rose by 4,400 to 653,000 from 648,600 in February and jumped by 18,600, or 2.9 percent, over the past year, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
The Hawaii labor force, which includes people who are employed and those unemployed but actively seeking work, jumped by 2,750 in March to a record 690,300 from the previous high of 687,550 in February.
There were 668,800 people employed in March, a record, topping the previous high of 666,350 people reached in February. Those unemployed, though, rose to 21,550 from 21,200 over the same period.
Until February, the last time Hawaii’s jobless rate was this low was November 2007 when it also was at 3.1 percent. The unemployment rate a year ago was 3.9 percent.
The state’s lowest unemployment rate dating back to January 1976 — the oldest available data on the U.S. Labor Department website — was 2.4 percent achieved each month from October through December of 2006 and May through September of 1989.
The U.S. jobless rate, which was previously announced, was 5.0 percent in March.
The unemployment rate and nonfarm payroll numbers are derived from separate surveys. Hawaii’s unemployment rate is derived largely from a monthly telephone survey of households, while a separate survey of businesses determines the number of nonfarm payroll jobs. The nonfarm payroll jobs figure includes people who might hold multiple jobs but doesn’t include people who are self-employed.